Yesterday we had some sun, and my wife and I took advantage and went on a short hike. Social distancing plus exercise and sun. Not a bad combination during these times!
The weather for today will include more rain, with a high near 46 degrees and a low around 34 degrees. There will be a southeast wind of 7 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90% with rain mainly during day and early evening hours. I am thinking maybe I should just put the same line in every day: “windy, cloudy and rain.” I say let there be sustained sunshine for us all!
Here’s a nice photo sent in from Thad Stauffer. It is a scene taken recently of Loch Glade Sanctuary on a cold, foggy morning. Nice work Thad and thanks for sharing with us.
Speaking of photos, I had announced my mini-photo contest last Monday. I took this photo (below) while out in California and offered some Deep Creek Times “bling” to the winner. The winner of our contest is Denny Long. It was taken from only three feet above the ground and is a photo of a small “wash” of sand heading to the beach at Point Loma peninsula, near their tidal pools. In fact, no one got it right! But, I said you did not have to be correct to have your submission randomly drawn and Denny is the lucky fellow. For the record, I wanted to send Denny a Deep Creek Times engraved gold and platinum Rolex, but my partner Sarah said Denny would likely much prefer a tee shirt and some other DCT imprinted items, so that is what we will send him. Congratulations Denny!!!
On Saturday, the Commissioners formally requested that visitors postpone trips to the lake area: “To further protect our residents, visitors and hospitality employees we request that visitors postpone trips to the mountains, Deep Creek Lake and the surrounding area beginning immediately,” commented Chairman Paul Edwards. “This action is necessary to ensure compliance with social distancing and flatten the curve of this dangerous coronavirus. At this point, the only weapon we have to combat this potentially fatal virus is to take drastic measures. All of us have to work together to outlast and shorten the cycle of this pandemic.”
Also, here’s the full press release declaring a state of emergency in the County as declared by the Board of County Commissioners on Sunday:
Garrett County Declares State of Emergency in Response to COVID-19
March 22, 2020, Oakland, MD – The Board of County Commissioners has issued a Declaration of Emergency effective Sunday March 22, 2020 at 5:00 PM local time. This is due to the public health catastrophe and public emergency as cited in the Governor of Maryland’s Declaration of Emergency issued on March 5, 2020.
This declaration on the local level provides additional powers and resources to our County Departments to deal with the COVID-19 situation. The Garrett County Health Department is the lead agency in this emergency and is supported by all county departments under the coordination of the Department of Emergency Services.
We request the public heed the orders of our public and health officials to limit social contact to reduce the threat of spreading the COVID-19 virus.
“This is not a response rooted in panic but this a global situation that is now beginning to directly impact our community,” said County Administrator Kevin Null. “This declaration will provide access to state and federal resources we will need to manage this situation.”
The Garrett County Emergency Operations Center is activated.
Note that the Garrett County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated to offer an inter-agency strategic response to this global pandemic at the local level.
“This EOC team is essential for managing a potential public health emergency and will provide a coordinated effort to mitigate risk and disruption for all Garrett County citizens,” said Garrett County Board of County Commissioners Chair Paul Edwards. “We are well prepared here but the reality is that COVID-19 is here and we have to stay diligent in limiting the spread.”
In addition to the items listed in the included declaration, the Board of County Commissioners have made the following changes in county government operations to protect the public and employees and to reduce the threat of further spread of the COVID-19 virus:
- All county departments will operate with essential services only. All county offices will be closed to the public effective, Monday, March 23, 2020.
- The Garrett County Landfill and collection sites will remain open, with limited hours, to allow for trash removal to continue. Specific operating hours for the Landfill and collection sites are to be determined.
Please do not call 911 for COVID-19 questions. Our health department’s COVID-19 call center can be reached at 301-334-7698.
For the video of the briefing, please visit https://youtu.be/4PKJm2BDTDA
Please check the county website, https://www.garrettcounty.org/covid-19, for the latest information.
About Garrett County Government: The County is governed by an elected Board of County Commissioners (the “Board”), whose three members serve four-year terms and must live in the District which they represent. The Board may exercise only such powers as are conferred by the General Assembly of Maryland. The County is administered under a line organizational method, with the County Administrator responsible for overseeing the financial planning, annual budget process, personnel management, and direction and management of operations within the organization. END OF RELEASE##
Obviously, the commissioners are taking the current pandemic very seriously, as we all should. I know that the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been announced in Garrett County. West Virginia has also announced a few, and there have been a few deaths in Maryland to-date. As a result, I thought I would offer some layperson thoughts (bear with me as I offer an opinion or four here) to complement all we have been hearing at the National, State and County levels. Here’s a few thoughts for your consideration. Nothing earth shattering to be sure, just some shared thinking:
- This is serious, so don’t go out into “a crowd” unless you absolutely need to. If you do go out to get provisions, be quick and use gloves and wipes/alcohol rub if you touch things that have been touched by others (including gas pumps, shopping carts, ATM buttons and anything in a public restroom, including the sink). I have been amazed at some of the behaviors I have seen (and heard about).
- Take care of those in need. We all know someone that may need some assistance (or reassurance) during this period. They may need someone to shop for food for them, or just someone to talk to to know they are not alone. A phone call or text/email to an elderly, infirm or “shut-in” relative, friend or neighbor can go a long way. Take five minutes and do it. Try to reach out to one person a day if you can.
- Use this time to reconnect with family and enjoy simplicity. It is OK to slow down and “just” read or play a game with members of the family if you are sequestered indoors. Get back to the basics and make lemonade out of our recent lemons. Do something you don’t usually do.
- Get out and make some vitamin D! I have heard that Garrett County folks (me included) tend to be vitamin D deficient. You can consider taking supplements and/or also go outside for even a few minutes and take a walk (or even sit). It will feel good, get the heart pumping a little and break the cycle of staying indoors. Obviously use judgement and get a doctor’s OK if you need one.
That’s it for today folks. Be safe and healthy and happy Monday dear readers…